Kate Box Knit studio sneak peek

I’m often asked about my knitwear making process, so I thought it would be interesting to share some behind-the-scenes insights with you.

It’s also really important to me that I show you just how much love, care and attention to detail goes into every item I make. There’s no fast fashion here! Knowing how much my customers appreciate the quality and traditionally crafted nature of my knitwear, makes me very happy!

Where I work

I work from my home-studio nestled in the beautiful South Downs, hand-making each garment on my 1970’s Brother domestic knitting machine. It was a present from my husband when I first left the Royal College of Art.

It’s been incredibly robust and the only thing I’ve ever had to do is give it a quick clean and change a few broken needles. My husband and I joke that when I really start knitting in earnest for Christmas, sparks sometimes seem to fly from it!

ADD93CFE-32B9-4F30-BF83-5E0249C421EE.JPG
3E8BABF6-3F02-467B-9710-2CC78FFBD060.JPG
A3230028-CD78-4842-8AA2-60801F4915EC.JPG

 Every stripe requires a yarn change

My signature look is very soft lambswool, with carefully chosen coloured stripes, blocks and geometrics but having so many different coloured stripes and patterns does create a complex process. Each stripe requires a yarn change which although not complicated, can be time very consuming.

I’m often asked if I would be prepared to have a small factory make some of my pieces but most factories would be put off by the number of colours I use. Some pieces require as many as 40 yarn changes!

I should perhaps think about a simpler design but quality, colour and my signature stripes are very important to me – and I don’t want to compromise on those.

751A8100-4DAE-4E54-83D5-C03BBDED3A8C.JPG

Tying on new colour for a stripe colour change

Panels are sewn together

I knit up my designs in sections and then sew them together using my Brother sewing machine. Each stripe must be carefully matched up otherwise it can look mix-matched and mass produced.

Wristwarmers and neckwarmers are fairly quick to sew, but large wraps are incredibly time consuming and become such big pieces they are sometimes difficult to handle.

I love seeing each garment coming together at this stage in the process, they are still very raw. The knitted stitch stays very open and gauzy until they’ve been washed.

CE06C243-8E89-4E1C-AD33-F2E4B0EE22EC.JPG

Knitted panels are carefully sewn together

The felting process

Once my designs are complete, they have to be carefully washed in the washing machine for the felting process. It’s always a bit of a nerve-racking time as things can go very wrong! I suppose a bit like putting pots into a kiln.

I have had whole wash loads of wrist warmers felt together into a one big mass which then become unusable. There is no rhyme or reason for it. Having built up experience, I generally know how many things I can put into a load of washing to get a good result.

My biggest fear is my washing machine breaking down in the few months before Christmas and having to reacquaint myself with a whole new machine.

1E55306D-A5F4-473D-8545-904A031B83F6.JPG

I love working with wool

I love working with natural fibres. Lambswool is a highly-versatile, renewable fibre with the most wonderful texture and soft-hand feel. It’s also available in an array of beautiful colours. And because it’s a natural fibre, the colours have a real quality to them.

887DC8D9-2D70-42FF-9232-CE33E1A97DCE.JPG

Lambswool is such a beautiful, natural fibre.

Delighted customers make me happy!

As the cold weather kicks in, I am delighted to have received some truly lovely customer reviews – thank you so very much! Keep an eye on my Instagram Stories where I will share them.

Please do keep them coming and tag me @kateboxknit on Instagram along with the hashtag #staytoasty.

117A57DB-7A42-43D6-83D2-D48B855F4D3E.full.JPG

Every tag, share, like or comment really does help us small businesses be more visible (and also supports me on my mission to keep people toasty warm in style this winter!).

SHOP THE RANGE

Up and coming Christmas Events

With the bright, but chilly Autumn weather upon us and with only 64 days to go until the big day itself I thought I’d let you know where you can find me for the rest of the winter season. October, November and December are really busy months for me and I will be popping up at some brilliant events. So, if you’re local, please do come along and say hello! 

First up is the................

Hampshire Pop-up-studios Gift Buying Event 

Where: Stockbridge Town Hall, High Street. SO20 6HE 

When: Friday and Saturday 26th/27th October 10-4pm  

More info: https://hampshirepopupstudios.com/

IMG_0435.JPG

 

In November you can find me at:  

Sparkle Contemporary Craft & Gourmet Food Fair  

Where: Landmark Arts Centre, Ferry Road, Teddington, TW11 9NN  

More info: http://www.landmarkartscentre.org/about-fairs/sparkle-contemporary-craft-and-gourmet-food-fair.php

 

IMG_0436.JPEG

Lastly: 

The Hampshire Pop-up-studios Christmas Event coinciding with the Stockbridge Xmas Lights switch on.  

Where: Stockbridge Town Hall, High Street. SO20 6HE

When: Friday and Saturday 7th/8th December 10-4pm. 

 More info: https://hampshirepopupstudios.com/

Can’t make it to an event? All Kate Box Knit designs are available online –SHOP THE RANGE.

Buying for a friend or relative and not sure what they’d like? We also offer Kate Box Knitwear gift vouchers, please email kate@kate-box.co.uk – the perfect gift for a winter birthday or Christmas.

 

 

Caring for your knitwear......

Knitwear can last a long time if it’s cared for properly. With the advent of a new year and people making pledges to buy less and live more sustainably by looking after what they have, I thought a blog post on how to look after your knitwear might be welcome.  

Some of you may have been given a neck or wristwarmers for Christmas so I’m targeting this post on wristwarmers but most of these points will be applicable to any sort of knitwear.  

Wristwarmers in particular get a lot of hard wear, they stretch as your hands move and become dirty from picking up things and generally being worn! One of the ways in which you can bring them back to tip top condition is to give them a wash. 

Soak the wristwarmers in lukewarm and mild soap - I use Ecover Delicate but I’m sure there are other detergents which would be just as good. 

4E5E6A6C-D83A-47CD-BAAC-0C5002976306.JPG
78CD3BA4-E360-4092-827D-7CC73D359B43.JPG
B33308AD-AD02-4812-BA19-CFDC6528E330.JPG

Squeeze the soapy bubbles through the gloves but be careful not to agitate or rub too much as it will result in felting the wrist warmers further. Do not stretch or wring! 

Rinse in clean water until you cannot see anymore suds coming from the gloves.  

AAAF384D-3FC5-4097-8CCD-180F64568A8B.JPG

I lie the wristwarmers out on a clean tea towel and gently use the towel to absorb any excess water and shorten the time it will take them to dry.

Again, it’s very important that you don’t wring them out as that will result in stretching and misshaping the gloves. Once all the excess water has been removed, reshape the gloves and pop them somewhere warm to dry flat. I pop all of mine in the airing cupboard on top of a pile of towels. Do not tumble dry! 

C29B260C-FEE4-4430-8646-DD9DB85A4F80.JPG

Pressing can be done lightly with the iron set to a wool setting. You can carefully use a bit of steam to help with this process.  

1E4D1A6C-FA4F-494B-9565-C4C1759E3F8E.JPG

As the weather gets warmer and you no longer need to be wearing your knitwear, it’s advisable to give it one last wash and then store it away carefully. 

If anyone else has any tips on how to look after their knitwear I’d love to hear them?! 

Happy customers!

When you hand-craft something with love, there is simply nothing better than receiving positive feedback from happy customers.

Earlier this month, I was heartened by one happy customer in particular. Cris Black, founder of Leaping Cow creative design took a fabulous short video of her working away at her computer– keeping toasty warm in her newly purchased Kate Box Knit wristwarmers. Take a sneak peek here:

We originally met via Instagram, then Cris came to find me at the recent Watoto Fair. Cris is a print and digital media designer who works with businesses to help them communicate with their customers in a persuasive style. You can see more of her work here: www.leapingcow.com I absolutely love Cris’s video – she models my wrist warmers in action so beautifully. Thank you Cris!

 

Over to you

I would be so thrilled to see more happy customers wearing Kate Box Knitwear this winter. Keeping cosy in style as the weather turns colder.

I’d love to create a montage of your images in a December blog post and share via our social media platforms in the coming weeks.

If you’d like to share a picture or short video, please do get in touch at kate@kate-box.co.uk . It would be such a fabulous way to capture our Autumn/Winter season!

Upcoming Christmas Events

With just 61 days until Christmas, it is all systems go here at Kate Box Knit HQ! November is a particularly busy month as I will be popping up at some brilliant Hampshire events. So, if you’re local, please do come along and say hello! With the colder weather now here to stay, it’s the perfect time to wrap up and keep warm in style with a new season Kate Box Knitwear design.

November events - come say hello!

The Watoto Christmas Fair

Where: The Tithe Barn, Ditcham, Petersfield, GU31 5RQ

IMG_0332.JPG

When: 9-4pm, Tuesday 7th & Wednesday 8th November.

Details: The Watoto Trust is a charity that believes by relieving poverty and educating children the world can become a better place. They provide sponsorship for individual, bright, impoverished Kenyans as well as increasing awareness of the problems facing Kenya including pressure on natural resources and loss of habitat. 

More info: www.watototrust.org/events/

 

Wyld’s Farm Launch Party

IMG_0333.JPG

Where: Wyld’s Farm, Warren Road, Liss. GU33 7DF 

When: 6.30-9.30pm, Friday 10thNovember.

Details: Come and celebrate at the 2017 Season Launch, there will be tasty, hot, street food, gift shopping, live music and The Apres Tree Bar stocked with gin, rum and mulled wine! 

For more information on further opening hours please visit: 

www.wylds-farm-christmas-trees.co.uk

 

Farnham Maltings Christmas Fair 

FullSizeRender.jpg

Where: Farnham Malting Christmas Fair, Bridge Square, Farnham, Surrey. GU9 7QR 

 When: Wed 29th Nov 1pm-9pm  & Thurs 30th Nov 10am-8pm

Details: A fantastic local event, featuring a bustling marketplace with over 150 stands specialising in handmade gifts, unique stocking fillers, crafts, vintage, food and drink. 

More info: www.craft.farnhammaltings.com/portfolio/christmas-fair/

 

Can’t make it to an event? All Kate Box Knit designs are available online  – SHOP THE RANGE.

Buying for a friend or relative and not sure what they’d like? We also offer Kate Box Knitwear gift vouchers, please email kate@kate-box.co.uk – the perfect gift for a winter birthday or Christmas.